Choon Yong-ACE Class Report-Stress And Your Body Part 2

Author of Book: Instructor: Professor Robert Sapolsky
Date Read:

Book Report

ACE Class Report – Stress And Your Body Part 2.
Begin: 3/19/2024
Finish: 6/4/2024
Title: Stress and Your Body Part 2.
Instructor: Professor Robert Sapolsky
Stanford University

Why I choose to take this class:

To continue learning more about stress and its effect on our body. Know about what causes stress and how to manage stress to avoid stress related illness.

What I learned from this class:

Stress, Learning, and memory:
There are several types of memory but the two main types are: Explicit (or Declaration) memory is where you know a fact, i.e… your birthday is in April, Where you went to school,..; Implicit memory involves things that have been internalized by your body, like fear conditioning i.e… afraid of snakes,… The Hippocampus is involved with declarative memory type of learning, whereas the Cerebellum is involved in Implicit memory. Information of memory is not contained in any single neuron or a single connection, it is contained in patterns of activation. In short term, stress does great things for your learning and memory. More blood and oxygen goes to the brain and it is working better. Connections between neurons become more excitable in the Hippocampus, and long term potentiation happens readily. Stressors make it easier to remember certain things. With more chronic stress, we see memory disruption. After a few hours, less blood and oxygen flows to the brain, you are no longer enhancing the long term potentiation, you are disrupting it. So chronic stress can potentially worsen neurological outcomes.

Stress, Judgement, and Impulse Control:
Excessive exposure to Glucocorticoid leads to Atrophy of the Hippocampus and resultant memory problems. However, abatement of stress the neurons grow back. People with stressful job tend to have small Hippocampus and greater memory problems. The Frontal Cortex is used for; regulative executive behavior and strategizing. The Hippocampus and Frontal Cortex have more Glucocorticoids receptors than other part of the brain, a sufficient amount of stress and Glucocorticoid excess can interfere with how the brain works.

Stress, Sleep and Lack of Sleep:
Sleep restores energy to your brain. You consolidate memories during your sleep. Sleep deprivation is a stressor, and your Glucocorticoids goes up. You can get lots of sleep, but if there’s not a predominance of slow-wave sleep, you don’t get the energy restoration needed. The Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep is when you consolidate your memory. If you disrupt REM sleep, you interfere with cognition, you won’t remember or learn things well.

Stress and Aging:
Lots of stress make you older faster and being older and more fragile can make you less able to deal with stress. After stress, Glucocorticoid take a longer time to return to baseline. These elevated Glucocorticoid in old age decrease the rate of neurogenesis in the Hippocampus. Aging is a time in life where you don’t deal well with stress; decrease DNA repair, decrease ability to regulate temperature and decrease cognitive ability. Stress throughout the lifetime increases the likelihood of and accelerates the progress of metabolic diseases of aging.

Understanding Psychological Stress:
Stressors are capable of being modulated by outlets; like hobbies, workout in the gym, running, walking or screaming. Physical outlets reduce the stress-response after a stressor, release muscle tension, distract you from the stressor. There is one type of outlet that pops up frequently and is really depressing, displacement aggression onto an innocent bystander, and disturbingly, it works well. That’s why during period of economic duress, rates of family violence goes up. Social support is a highly protective factor against stressor. Predictability information is useful in coping strategies with stress.

Psychological Modulators of Stress:
The more of a sense of Control you have, the less stressful the stressor is. Predictive information helps only for stressors with moderate likelihood of occurring. Also having it too far in advance for a major stressor can actually makes things worse. Stressor that are mild to moderately in severity, you want to increase a person’s feeling of control. In face of disastrous stressors, you don’t want to inflate a person’s sense of control because you ‘re setting them up to think that they failed.

Stress and Biology of Depression:
Symptoms of depression is Anhedonia – the inability to feel pleasure. Many people with depression experience grief and guilt so severe that they begin to distort the way they interpret the world around them; they injure themselves, attempt suicide, social withdraw, loss of libido and changes in sleep pattern. The sleep pattern is disorganized for people with depression, their brain works differently. In a substantial percentage of sufferers, there is an increased level of Glucocorticoids, which means stress. Also some people get depressed typically during the winter months – Seasonal disease (SAD). Norepinephrine has to do with energy, so the absence of Norepinephrine begins to explain the psychomotor retardation of depression – why it feels exhausted to do anything. Serotonin has to do with rumination on grief, despair and guilt. Shortage of Dopamine has to do with Anhedonia.

Stress and the Psychology of Depression:
Changes in levels of hormones have great effect on the brain like Estrogen and Progesterone. Thyroid hormone is important for maintaining metabolic rate, when people become hypothyroid they increase the rate of depression. people who just had major stressful event are statistically more likely to fall into a depression. People who are given high levels of synthetic Glucocorticoids for autoimmune disorders or inflammatory issue, have increased risk of depression. The building block of psychological stressors: lack of outlets, lack of control. lack of predictability, lack of social support and the perception that things are worsening. A depression is a pathologically extreme of those perceptions. Stress plays a big role in the biology of depression and as an outcome of certain adverse aspect of life.

Anxiety, Hostility, Repression, and Reward:
The Amygdala plays a role in learning to be fearful of new things and an innate fears and phobias. On a behavioral level, stress increases anxiety. The Amygdala is extremely sensitive to Glucocorticoids, with sustained stress and lots of Glucocorticoids gets better which is learning to be afraid, setting up for anxiety disorder. the second realm related to stress is Hostility, Type A Personality or Toxic Hostility, It drives your blood pressure up and puts you at risk of cardiovascular disease. The third realm is Repressive Personality and stress. Repressive personality are usually happy and highly functional. But don’t deal well with ambiguity or surprises. It is enormously stressful too create a world which nothing stressful happen. A neurotransmitter called Dopamine – is about reward or anticipation of reward. When moderate amount of stress that are moderately transient, and moderate increase in Glucocorticoids level, you increase the release of Dopamine. Short term stress improves those aspects of mood; chronic stress depletes you of Dopamine an thus you have less capacity for pleasure or anticipation of pleasure.

Stress, Health, and Low Social Status:
Socioeconomic Status (SES) – An aggregate measure that incorporates level of education, wealth, and place of residence. Low SES is a predictor of increased risk for wide variety of disease, as well as for shortened life expectancy. The realm of psychological psychosocial stress is disproportionally focused on the poor; they have relative lack of control, lack of outlet, and don’t have much social support. People low on the SES gradient tends to have lifestyle risk like drinking, smoking and also more stress.

Stress Management – Clues to Success:
Big predictor of successful aging; having a healthy lifestyle, long lasting good marriage, avoid major clinical depression, change for the better and hope.

Stress Management – Approaches and Cautions:
Exercise decreases cardiovascular disease, protect against brain aging and cognitive decline. Exercise stimulates neurogenesis. Just don’t overdo it, it can impact your reproductive system (when you are child bearing age). You cannot save exercise and stress management for weekends, it has to be done daily. You need 20 -30 minutes to get cardiovascular advantages and you have to like and enjoy doing it, otherwise it can be a stressor. Transcendental meditation lowers heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol. Have social support from people you love and trust. Religious belief tends to increase protection against cardiovascular disease, depression and increase life expectancy. Cognitive flexibility – recognizing when your strategy is not working and it is time to do something different. Sometimes you have to realize that it is not going away and you need to accept it. The famed Serenity Prayer: To accept things you cannot change, having the courage to change things that are changeable, and having the wisdom to tell the difference between the two. Westernized lifestyle luxury of wallowing in psychogenic stressors, we are smart enough to make these things up an foolish enough to fall for them, all of us have the potential to instead keep them in perspective.

How will this class contribute to my success upon my release:

The information from this class about stress has helped me and my family during my time in incarceration and not fall into depression. This has helped me and my family live a calmer and peaceful life. The information will be shared with my family and communities when I volunteer my services through teaching, tutoring and mentoring.